Photograph by Jax Robinson
Two of the crucial events of this project are the ‘Art Crits’ to explore how the communication between the scientists and the artists will work and to further the understanding of the collaboration processes. The Art-crit is a model of learning whereby artists present their work to a group in order to gain feedback on how that work is being ‘read’ and ways that they might develop it further. The work ‘crit’ is a shortened version of the word critique (not criticism) and is a process in which people discuss ideas stimulated by an art object, drawing, painting etc. It is comparable to the 19th Century Salon, in which intellectuals, writers, artist and critics formed informal meetings to discuss the context, content, and rational behind an artwork or artefact together with an analysis of its aesthetic properties and visual intent.
The fist Art Crit has now been held using Skype where the collaborative projects were discussed in detail. The artists presented their work to date and this was discussed between the scientists and the artists. For ease of technology (although there are always some hitches) the projects were split into three sessions. The most significant question that arose from the science perspective, when looking at images for textiles, was
“How do people view this as information rather than a beautiful image?”
The artist responded that art provokes responses and ideas rather than telling people the information. Intrigue encourages further investigation, so that viewers think and work at this information. It allows viewers to consider ‘visual information’ to create questioning, and this combined with the scientific research is especially helpful to visual learners to gain a more enriched experience and deeper understanding of the information holistically.
The sharing of ideas whilst viewing the work to date and the future plans encouraged further collaborations between the scientists and the stakeholders, for example The Heart of Wales Line (Railway) is developing pollinator gardens at each of its stations, and is being renamed The Bee Line. Three artists are working on projects with The Bee Line, and as a result of the crit a collaboration has developed with Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm, the National Botanic Garden of Wales, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and The Bee Line.
The final Art Crit will now take place in June/July.